Joy from a Big World Living in a Small Town
No offense to our Bryson City citizens, but after a few weeks of living here, we started to think that there were some pretty weird birds living here. There are so many “characters” and if you live or work in town, pretty much everyone knows them by description at least.
I grew up in Orlando, lived 13 years in Birmingham and the last 11 in Atlanta, so its safe to say I’ve really never experienced small town living. In fact, over the past 5 years in Atlanta, I focused my life in a small area of the east side of town which was comprised largely of my type of people – earth lovin’, beer drinking, outdoorsy hippies who own small businesses. I bet you are wondering actually how many people in Atlanta meet that particular criteria. Well, out of the 4 million people in Atlanta, believe it or not, there are a lot! And once I surrounded myself with these EL, BD, O, H, BO people, I was quite happy, enjoying life and encountering very few beings along my way who were not like me.
Well now in Bryson, yes, I immediate found earth lovin’, beer drinking, outdoorsy hippies who own or work in small businesses – all 20 of them, but I run across a whole heck of a lot of people who are NOT at all like that every day. I walk by them on my way to work, encounter them in the neighborhood, at the Ingles or at the “green cans.” Some smoke, some litter right in front of you, some sell puppies from the back of their trucks, some are high, some don’t work, and a few don’t have teeth. Some ain’t from around here, and some lived here for generations. Some run for every office imaginable, some skateboard, some shop at the Dollar General every day, some ride the train, some grunt instead of say hello, and some pass out Jesus tracts on the street. Some will engage you in conversation about their entire life in just a few moments from a town bench.
So I find that I am exposed to a more diverse community here in a town of 2,000 then I ever was in Atlanta. Yes, I would love to hang with just my top 20 peeps, but you can’t. Even in my yoga class the other day where I am surrounded by people who are all intent on the same objective, some dude busted in asking if his friend still worked there (clearly, he did not notice all the people in pigeon pose scattered on the floor of the studio).
Ultimately, here in Bryson City, you have to co-exist with those who are vastly different than you. I am noticing that my work is not only to have a positive impact, but to change from within, accepting the things that make us all unique on this huge planet. And I’m experiencing more love and acceptance for others, and I’m also more comfortable with who I am as a unique human being in this community.
Noticing the Great Big World in My Little Town,